Last Updated: June 22, 2023
The primary function of a virtual private network (VPN) is to hide your actual IP address. But sometimes VPN leaks occur, and your IP address becomes visible. If you’re using a VPN, you want to be sure that it’s working properly and that it’ll prevent an IP address leak. Therefore, a VPN security test must be conducted to ensure no leaks and that the VPN service is working properly. This article addresses how and why VPN leaks happen and how to run a security test.
VPNs provide privacy and security on the internet by creating encrypted tunnels between your device and the VPN server, where your data is decrypted, and your IP address is changed, guaranteeing data security. Your online activity cannot be linked to you if your VPN is working correctly, not even by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). But VPN leaks do occur due to several reasons, such as an interruption of your internet connection or the VPN server crashing.
You might be wondering: Is my VPN working properly? Do I need to check VPN connection? How can I be sure my data is safe? First, you must ensure that your VPN is operational and not leaking, or else your information can be exposed to the same degree if you weren’t using a VPN. Sensitive information on the internet is easy prey for hackers who might be able to access your data and abuse it easily. If you wish to know more about the dangers of being hacked, check out these hacking statistics.
It’s also essential to use a VPN if you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi network. According to identity theft statistics, if you enter personal information while connected to such a network, identity theft is always a risk. Therefore, it’s imperative to conduct a VPN check to ensure that you’re adequately protected and that your data is safe.
Types of VPN Leaks
Since several different VPN leaks can occur, you first need to identify the type of leak before attempting to resolve it. The most common problems arise from a Domain Name System (DNS), an IP address, or with a WebRTC leak or browser extension leaks, which are addressed in detail below:
The purpose of a DNS is to translate your domain name into an IP address. When using a common internet connection, this request goes to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Then, the request is routed to your VPN service with an excellent working VPN, which creates an alternative IP address.
A Domain Name System (DNS) leak occurs when the requests are routed to your ISP instead of your VPN provider. You need to check VPN for these leaks since they can expose your online traffic and identity to your provider.
IP Address Leak
An Internet Protocol (IP) address is the router’s address you use to connect to the internet. If you don’t use a VPN, this address is visible to your ISP and the administrators of all the sites you visit, which doesn’t allow privacy. If your VPN is properly working, it will be visible to your ISP that you’re connecting to a VPN server, but everything you do afterward remains hidden.
An IP leak often depends on the type of protocol you use: IPv4 or IPv6. Most are still using the older IPv4 version instead of the IPv6, which became standard in 2017. But some VPN providers still haven’t configured their services to this protocol. If a VPN isn’t configured correctly, it might cause IPv6 connectivity issues, leading to IP address leaks.
Browser Extension VPN Leak
These types of leaks occur as a result of a browser function known as ‘prefetching,’ which aims to make searches faster and more efficient. But a VPN leakage affects your data security and overall online privacy. You’ll know that you have a browser-extension leak when your Chrome VPN extensions prefetch a domain name, predicting which sites you want to visit to speed up connections. If you notice this happening, you should test VPN connection.
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Perform a VPN Security Test
The primary purpose of using VPN software is to provide privacy and security for internet users who wish to remain anonymous. To retain anonymity, a VPN has to be functional and have no leaks. If you’re a VPN user, you may wonder how to check if VPN is working. There are several tests you can conduct to determine whether the VPN is working correctly. You can efficiently perform some of these tests yourself, or if a data leak seems to be ominous and requires advanced testing, you can turn to your VPN provider and have them conduct tests for you.
DNS Leak Test
Is my VPN leaking? You can conduct a DNS leak test yourself by referring to such particular websites as DNSleaktest.com—select the Standard Test, which will show you the servers you’re connected to and their physical location. If these IP addresses match the sites that you visit or your actual IP address shows up, it means that you have a DNS leak. Fortunately, there are several simple fixes used to fix this problem.
IP Address Leak Test
IP address leaks happen quite often, where users’ real IP addresses are often made visible. Therefore, it’s essential to test the VPN server for IP leaks, which should be conducted twice: once the VPN connection is active and when the VPN is in the reconnection phase. A leak will most likely be visible in the reconnection phase after a drop in the internet connection causes this reconnection leak. This shouldn’t happen with a high-quality, functioning VPN since they should all have a kill switch that blocks all online traffic in case of a lost connection.
WebRTC Leak Test
A WebRTC allows web browsers to communicate with each other, allowing faster speeds and response times, especially crucial for such activities as streaming. But to do this, a WebRTC requires that the browsers know their IP addresses. And if your IP address is visible in this process, it means that you have a leak. So if you’re wondering how to test VPN for WebRTC leaks, the solution is straightforward.
Visit a website that tests for these types of leaks and see if the IP address displayed on the site matches your VPN-masked address or your real IP address. If your actual IP address is displayed, it means that you have a leak. The good news is that these types of leaks are quickly resolved—all you need to do is block WebRTC on your browser, either by installing plugins or changing settings, depending on your browser.
Browser Extension VPN Leak Test
You can determine whether you have a browser extension leak through several simple steps, especially with a Chrome browser. It’s important to note that you need to test the VPN connection from inside the network that you want to be inspected for leaks. Take these steps:
- Activate the Chrome plugin on the VPN.
- Go to chrome://net-internals/#dns and click on Clear Host Cache.
- Go to any website and check which IP address your VPN is displaying.
If the IP address your VPN shows is your actual IP address, this indicates an extension leak.
|NOTE: VPNs give you access to blocked content, especially about videos that you cannot stream in your region or country. So, if you want to watch something that has been blocked in your region, consider the quality VPN for streaming.
|VPNs provide online privacy and security and protect you from data leaks.
|VPN leaks often occur—most commonly because of a failed internet connection or a crash of the VPN server.
|Security tests need to be conducted to determine whether your VPN protects various leaks from a DNS, a WebRTC, and an IP address, as well as browser extension leaks.
|You can employ certain practices to ensure maximum security—use a reliable VPN service and run frequent checks for connection, encryption, and anonymity.
|NOTE: VPNs can increase your internet speed. Since there are no bandwidth restrictions when using a VPN, you can get a faster connection via a VPN than through an ISP. Can I check my torrent IP address with a good VPN? Good speeds are crucial for torrenting—so before starting, find a good VPN for torrenting.
VPN Best Practices
Even if you have installed VPN software on your device, you may still be wondering: Is my VPN on? Are there any leaks? You can employ certain practices to ensure that your VPN doesn’t leak or at least minimize the possibility of leaks.
If you wish to prevent a VPN leak, be extremely careful when using a public Wi-Fi network. Even if you’re connecting to a password-protected Wi-Fi network, you don’t know anything about its security features. Therefore, it would be best to have a reliable VPN with built-in leak protection and good encryption when connecting to such networks.
How Do I Check if My VPN Is Working?
The privacy features of a VPN don’t guarantee absolute anonymity. Even if your information is hidden from third parties, your VPN provider can still see your information and even retain it. That’s why it’s always a good idea to run a VPN anonymity test to ensure that your data is kept anonymous, at least from external parties.
The VPN encryption test is another useful test you can run to ensure that your data is encrypted once it goes through your VPN. Two apps to use for this purpose include Glasswire and Wireshark. Although Wireshark is considered more reliable than Glasswire, installing either one of these apps on a device using the VPN can verify VPN connections and encryption.
If you’re using a firewall in addition to a VPN, you should also run a firewall leak test to ensure there aren’t any security threats to your device, whether they be VPN or firewall leaks.
Does my VPN work? You can never be certain that your VPN works unless you test it and check if there are leaks. Fortunately, for VPN users who are still wondering how to test a VPN connection, many simple tests can detect leaks or a vulnerability. And solutions are available to fix these problems.
When troubleshooting VPN problems, the first things you need to check include network connectivity, usernames and passwords, and firewall settings. And you should check if any of the old VPN packages are interfering with the new one.
Am I on a VPN if I can be detected? Yes. Detecting a VPN isn’t as difficult as it sounds. VPN detection databases contain the most common local IP addresses used by popular VPN providers.
How to check if my VPN is working? First, you need to find your original IP address and activate the VPN. Then, refresh the website you’re on, and if the VPN is working, it should show a new, alternative IP address.
The best way to check your connection security is to run a VPN security test to see if there are any leaks. Additionally, test your firewall, antivirus software, and your internet protocols to ensure maximum security.